Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR)


ACPR Research - Summary

The Three Religions and
Their Contribution to Jerusalem and the Land of Israel

ACPR Policy Paper No. 161 (Hebrew), 2005
ACPR Policy Paper No. 169 (English), 2007

Menashe Harel

A large collective of people who share a single ethnic origin, a common language, a distinctive history, culture, heritage and tradition and at times even a unique religion – that is a nation. A nation resides in a defined territory that as a rule it constructed and maintained. Where is the land and homeland of the People of the Book? Where is the homeland of the Palestinian Arabs?

The ancient kingdoms and empires conquered and subjugated foreign lands, enslaved and banished its residents, damaged its property and compromised its freedom. The Land of Israel did not escape that fate. It was ruled heavy-handedly by seven powers: Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine, all of which abandoned it after exploiting it. The last among them, the Arab-Moslem power, forcibly holds on to it and continues to inflict damage upon it even today.

Conventional wisdom has it that Jerusalem is sacred to the three monotheistic religions. Below we will discuss the roots of this “sanctity” and its manifestations, by surveying the approach of the three to the Land of Israel. The discussion will comprise four chapters. We will begin with the names of the Land and of Jerusalem in the sources of the various religions, we will continue with a survey of the construction and design of the country’s landscapes, Jerusalem’s status as a capital city and finally – each religion’s connection to Jerusalem. We will conclude with a question: Who is the occupier of the land of Israel? Which nation’s land was occupied?

For the complete text of this paper in Hebrew, click here.

For the complete text of this paper in English, click here.